Dear Friends in Christ,
On our Immanuel blog, we desire to present to you weekly teaching on the articles of doctrine taught by the Augsburg Confession, the premiere confessional statement and teaching of the Lutheran reformers. This confession was presented to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V on this day, 489 years ago, June 25, 1530. Please return to this site for the series beginning with Article I, “God”, next week.
What follows is a bit more of the history of the Augsburg Confession, written by the Rev. Mark Surburg of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Marion, Illinois (see link here):
Charles V called for the Lutheran princes and cities to explain their religious reforms at an imperial diet that was to meet in the southern German city of Augsburg in 1530. Luther was not able to travel to the diet because of edict passed against him in 1521 and the Lutherans were led by his colleague, Phillip Melanchthon. When the Lutherans arrived they found that a Roman Catholic opponent, John Eck, had produced a work entitled Four Hundred Four Propositions. This work contained quotes from Luther and Melanchthon and mixed them in with heretical statements in the attempt to give the impression that the Lutherans supported most heresies known to the Church.
In the face of this, Melanchthon and the Lutherans realized that they would need to do more than just explain their reforms. They needed to demonstrate that the theology they taught was true to the catholic (universal) tradition of the Church. They need to state the biblical truth while condemning the false teachings that the Roman Catholics also rejected.
Melanchthon was able to draw upon some previous doctrinal articles that the Lutherans had written. He produced the Augsburg Confession which has twenty one articles on doctrinal topics and seven articles on reform efforts. Latin and German editions of the confession were prepared. The Latin text was presented to Charles V and the German edition was read aloud to the diet on June 25, 1530.
At Augsburg, the Lutherans confessed the truth of the Gospel in the face of a very real threat to their possessions and lives. We continue to share in this confession as the Augsburg Confession is the foundational statement of what the Lutheran Church believes and teaches. In the Augsburg Confession we confess the biblical and catholic (universal) faith before the world.